How To Make Gimp Bracelets: Gimp bracelets, also known as lanyard or boondoggle bracelets, are a delightful and creative form of crafting that has captivated the hearts of many, both young and old. These colorful and intricately woven bands are not only a fun pastime but also a unique way to express your creativity and personal style.
The history of gimp bracelet-making can be traced back to summer camps, where kids would use plastic lacing cords to create vibrant and stylish accessories. Over the years, this simple pastime has evolved into a beloved hobby with countless intricate patterns and designs to explore. Making gimp bracelets is an art form that allows you to blend colors, textures, and patterns to produce stunning pieces of jewelry that make great gifts or fashionable additions to your own collection.
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of making gimp bracelets step by step. Whether you are a beginner looking to start your crafting journey or an experienced enthusiast seeking fresh ideas and techniques, our guide is designed to cater to all skill levels. From selecting the right materials to mastering the basic weaving techniques and exploring advanced patterns, you will find a wealth of information here to help you create beautiful gimp bracelets.
How much gimp do you need for a bracelet?
You’ll need three pieces, two a bit longer than the length you want for the bracelet and the third piece should be twice as long as the other two pieces.
The amount of gimp needed for a bracelet depends on several factors, including the bracelet’s design, the desired length, and the thickness of the gimp or lacing you’re using. Here are some general guidelines to help you estimate how much gimp you’ll need:
Bracelet Length: Measure the circumference of your wrist or the desired length of the bracelet. Typically, a bracelet may be 6 to 8 inches long, but it can vary depending on your wrist size and style preference.
Design Complexity: The more complex the bracelet design, the more gimp you will need. Bracelets with intricate patterns and multiple colors will require extra gimp for each color and stitch.
Gimp Thickness: Thicker gimp or lacing requires more material than thinner options. If you’re using a standard gimp thickness, you’ll need less compared to a chunkier gimp.
Overestimation: It’s a good practice to have a little extra gimp on hand in case of mistakes or to ensure you don’t run out during the project.
A simple, single-color bracelet may require 6-10 feet (1.8-3 meters) of gimp, while more complex patterns with multiple colors or stitches could require 15-20 feet (4.5-6 meters) or more.
To determine the exact amount, it’s helpful to follow a specific pattern or tutorial, as they often include recommendations for the required length of gimp. Keep in mind that it’s easier to add more gimp if you run out than it is to trim excess gimp from your bracelet, so it’s okay to start with a bit more than you think you need.
Why is it called gimp bracelet?
History. The term “gimp” for a braided trim has been around since the 15th and 16th centuries, when gimp threads were braided into flat braids up to a quarter of an inch (7 mm) wide. The braids were sometimes made either with bobbins or needle and thread, which gave greater control over the threads.
A “gimp bracelet” is a type of craft that is also known as a “lanyard,” “scoubidou,” or “boondoggle.” The term “gimp” in this context refers to the plastic lacing or cord used to create these bracelets. The origin of the word “gimp” for these craft projects can be a bit unclear, but there are a few possible explanations:
Historical Use of the Term: The term “gimp” has a long history and originally referred to a type of braided fabric trim or ornamental border used in sewing and upholstery. It could be that the plastic lacing used in bracelet-making resembles the braided texture of traditional gimp trim, leading to the use of the term.
Variation in Terminology: The craft of making bracelets with plastic lacing is known by different names in various regions. “Gimp bracelet” might be a regional variation that has become popular in some areas.
Cultural Influence: The term “gimp” may have been influenced by the history of the craft. It could have been introduced as a name, and it stuck over time.
Regardless of its origin, “gimp bracelets” have become a popular craft activity, especially among children and teenagers. These bracelets are created by weaving or braiding colorful plastic cords or laces to form intricate patterns and designs. The name “gimp bracelet” has become widely recognized in the context of this specific craft, irrespective of its historical roots.
What are the names of gimp bracelets?
Scoubidou, Boondoggle, Gimp
Did you know that “Scoubidou” (pronounced in your best french accent) is its original name? They’re called “Scoubies” for short, and can refer to either the colorful plastic strands used or the final project of repeated knots.
Gimp bracelets, also known as lanyard bracelets or scoubidou bracelets, come in a wide variety of patterns and designs. These bracelets are often named after the specific pattern or stitch used in their creation. Some popular gimp bracelet patterns include:
Box Stitch (Square Stitch): This is one of the most basic gimp bracelet patterns. It forms a square pattern, resembling a checkerboard.
Circle Stitch: In this pattern, the plastic lacing is woven in a circular or spiral design, creating a circular bracelet.
Cobra Stitch: Also known as the “cobra knot” or “king cobra stitch,” it features a raised, snake-like pattern that resembles a cobra’s back.
Diamond Stitch: This pattern creates diamond-shaped designs on the bracelet by weaving the lacing diagonally.
Twisted Spiral: A more complex design, the twisted spiral features twisted strands of lacing in a spiral pattern.
Heart Stitch: This pattern forms heart shapes along the bracelet, making it perfect for gift-giving.
Zipper Stitch: It creates a design that resembles the teeth of a zipper.
Chevron Stitch: This pattern features a V-shaped design, similar to the chevron pattern seen on military insignia.
Fishbone Stitch: This pattern mimics the structure of fishbones, with a center spine and diagonal lines radiating from it.
Super Stripe: This is a vibrant and colorful pattern that features wide, contrasting stripes.
These are just a few examples, and there are countless more gimp bracelet patterns with unique names. Crafters often invent their own designs and give them creative names based on their appearance or personal preferences. Gimp bracelets offer a creative and enjoyable way to craft personalized accessories.
How long should gimp be for bracelet?
Cut the two pieces of gimp (plastic lace) into equal lengths about 2 to 3 feet long. It is easiest to use two different colors. In this tutorial, we will use yellow and green. (Optional: You can string a safety pin or a key ring on one of the pieces of gimp so you can clip it on to something when you are done.)
The length of gimp or lacing you need for a bracelet depends on various factors, including the bracelet’s design, the wrist size of the wearer, and the specific pattern you’re following. Here are some general guidelines to help you determine the ideal length of gimp for a typical bracelet:
Wrist Measurement: Measure the circumference of the wearer’s wrist where the bracelet will be worn. Add about 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) to this measurement to account for the clasp and a comfortable fit. This total measurement will be the desired bracelet length.
Consideration for Weaving: The length of gimp you need will be approximately three times the length of the bracelet to account for the weaving process. This estimate allows for the necessary slack and weaving of the gimp.
Pattern and Style: Bracelet patterns and styles vary. Simpler designs may require less gimp, while more intricate patterns with multiple colors or stitches may require more. Consult the specific pattern you’re following for guidance.
Clasp and Ends: Don’t forget to account for the length of the clasp and the space needed to secure the bracelet ends.
Overestimation: It’s always a good idea to have a little extra gimp in case you make mistakes or need to make adjustments.
A bracelet made using standard-sized gimp or lacing and following a basic pattern will require approximately 3 to 3.5 times the length of the finished bracelet. However, if you’re using a more complex design or thicker gimp, you may need more. It’s better to have extra length than to run out mid-project, as you can always trim the excess once the bracelet is complete.
What are the essential materials needed to make gimp bracelets?
To make gimp bracelets, you will need the following essential materials:
Gimp Lacing or Plastic Craft Lace: This is the primary material used for creating the bracelets. Gimp lacing comes in various colors and can be flat or round.
Scissors: A good pair of scissors is crucial for cutting the gimp lacing to the desired length and for trimming any excess material.
Buckles or Clasps: Depending on the closure style you prefer for your bracelet, you may need buckles, clasps, or key rings to secure the bracelet around your wrist.
Optional Accessories: While not essential, you can enhance your gimp bracelet with beads, charms, or other decorative elements to add a unique touch to your creation.
Measuring Tape or Ruler: To ensure your bracelet is the right size, a measuring tape or ruler can be helpful for accurate length measurements.
Clipboard or Safety Pin (optional): You can use a clipboard or a safety pin to secure your gimp while working on your bracelet, making the process more manageable.
These materials are the basics you’ll need to get started with making gimp bracelets. As you gain experience, you can explore more advanced techniques and incorporate additional materials and accessories to create intricate and personalized designs.
Can you explain the basic weaving technique for gimp bracelets?
The basic weaving technique for gimp bracelets involves a simple square or box stitch. Here are the step-by-step instructions:
Materials you’ll need:
Gimp lacing (two different colors if you prefer a two-tone bracelet)
Prepare the Gimp: Cut two pieces of gimp lacing to your desired length. A typical length is around 60 inches, but this can vary depending on your wrist size and how long you want your bracelet.
Cross the Strands: Align the two pieces of gimp lacing so that the ends meet, forming an “X” shape.
Create the First Knot: Take the right strand and cross it over the left strand, creating a loop on the right side. The right strand should now be on the left side.
Weave the Left Strand: Take the new left strand and pass it over the right strand, then weave it under the right strand, coming out on the right side.
Tighten the Knot: Gently pull both strands to tighten the knot, making sure it’s snug but not too tight.
Repeat the Process: Continue to alternate between steps 3 and 4, creating a series of knots. As you progress, you’ll notice a square pattern forming in the center of your bracelet.
Continue Weaving: Keep weaving until your bracelet reaches the desired length. If you’re using two different colors, alternate the colors for a two-tone effect.
Finish the Bracelet: To finish, trim any excess gimp lacing and secure the loose ends. You can use a buckle, clasp, or simply tie the ends together in a secure knot.
Optional Decorations: You can add beads, charms, or other decorations as you go, or after you’ve finished weaving, to personalize your bracelet.
This basic square stitch is the foundation for many gimp bracelet patterns. As you become more comfortable with this technique, you can explore more intricate designs and color combinations to create unique and beautiful gimp bracelets.
Are there any tips for choosing color combinations for gimp bracelets?
Choosing the right color combinations for your gimp bracelets can significantly enhance the overall look and appeal of your creations. Here are some tips to help you select pleasing color combinations:
Consider Your Style: Think about your personal style and the look you want to achieve. Are you going for something vibrant and eye-catching, or do you prefer subtle and understated colors?
Complementary Colors: Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel and tend to create a striking contrast. Pairing colors like red and green, blue and orange, or yellow and purple can make your bracelet stand out.
Analogous Colors: Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel and create a harmonious and soothing effect. Choosing colors like blue and green, or red and orange, can give your bracelet a balanced and coordinated appearance.
Monochromatic: Using different shades of a single color can result in an elegant and sophisticated bracelet. It’s a great choice if you want a cohesive and polished look.
Color Symbolism: Consider the symbolism associated with colors. For example, red can symbolize energy and passion, while blue often represents calm and tranquility. Choose colors that align with the message or feeling you want your bracelet to convey.
Seasonal Themes: For bracelets you plan to wear during specific seasons or holidays, select colors that reflect the spirit of that time. For instance, pastels for spring, warm tones for autumn, or red and green for Christmas.
Experiment: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different color combinations. Try out several options to see what appeals to you the most. Mixing and matching colors can lead to unexpected and beautiful results.
Balance: When using multiple colors, aim for a balanced distribution. You can create patterns or gradients by evenly spacing colors or by using more of one color for a dominant effect.
Consider the Recipient: If you’re making gimp bracelets as gifts, think about the recipient’s favorite colors or their personal style when choosing the color combination.
That color choice is a personal and creative decision, so there are no strict rules. Trust your instincts and have fun experimenting with different color combinations to make your gimp bracelets uniquely yours.
What are some advanced patterns or designs to try when making gimp bracelets?
Creating advanced patterns and designs in gimp bracelets can be a rewarding challenge. Here are some advanced patterns and techniques you can try:
Chevron or V-Pattern: This pattern involves weaving the gimp in a V-shape, creating a chevron design. You can experiment with different color combinations to make it visually striking.
Diamond Pattern: By altering the direction of your knots and varying the colors, you can create intricate diamond patterns within your bracelet.
Heart Pattern: Craft a heart shape within your bracelet by manipulating the gimp to form two hearts that meet in the center.
Zigzag Pattern: A zigzag pattern involves weaving the gimp back and forth in a continuous zigzag design, creating an interesting texture.
Twisted or Spiral Design: Intertwine the gimp strands to create a twisted or spiral effect in your bracelet. This design adds a sense of movement and depth.
Braid or Basket Weave: Experiment with a braided or basket weave pattern, which involves weaving gimp strands over and under each other to form a textured and woven look.
Lettering and Words: You can spell out names or words within your bracelet by carefully choosing the color pattern to create letters or numbers.
3D Patterns: Incorporate three-dimensional elements like loops or raised segments to add depth and texture to your bracelet.
Incorporate Beads: Integrate beads into your design to create a more intricate and embellished look. Beads can be used to spell out words, form patterns, or simply add pops of color and texture.
Rainbow or Gradient: Create a rainbow effect by using multiple colors in a specific order, or transition from one color to another to create a gradient.
Mastering advanced patterns may require practice and patience. Start with simpler designs and gradually work your way up to more complex patterns as you gain confidence and experience in making gimp bracelets. You can find tutorials and instructions online to help you learn these advanced techniques.
Making gimp bracelets is not only a craft but an art form that allows you to express your creativity, personalize your accessories, and create unique gifts for your loved ones. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced enthusiast, the world of gimp bracelet-making offers endless possibilities.
Starting with the basics of the square or box stitch, you can gradually explore more intricate patterns and designs, incorporating advanced techniques, diverse color combinations, and decorative elements. The journey from selecting your gimp and colors to the final knot is a rewarding process that fosters patience, precision, and an eye for detail.
These handcrafted bracelets hold not only aesthetic value but also sentimental significance, making them special tokens of friendship, love, or personal milestones. As you continue to hone your skills and experiment with different techniques, you’ll discover that gimp bracelet-making is an art form that keeps evolving, offering endless opportunities for self-expression and creativity. So, grab your gimp, get creative, and let your imagination flow as you embark on your gimp bracelet-making adventure.